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Sunday, 14 September 2014

"Red Bull Sidrun" In Croatia For Hardcore Water Polo






I wasn't quite sure whether to do this one, since summer is already over. However, it is another fine promotion showing some of the local goings on in Croatia come summer time, the less touristy stuff. Earlier this summer I did a post about the Red Bull Air Race in Rovinj, which had a more international flavor to it. (While doing this one I also found out about the Red Bull Pannonian Challenge that takes annually in the city of Osijek, which seems like another cool Red Bull sponsored BMX bike event. There's even more events at www.redbull.com.hr/hr)

I remember playing some water polo for the first time when I spent 2 whole summers mainly in Rijeka when I was 11 and 12 years old, and water polo is one of the popular pastimes along the coast in the summer. Even during my last trip to Croatia, I was walking along the waterfront in Zadar, and lo and behold a water polo match was just starting up in the later afternoon, not long before dusk. (Personal pic in this post of the exact same spot seen below). They may wear those unusual looking caps, but trust me, water polo is a very hard sport to play. (Those water polo caps come in handy for other things too though, I've seen lots of fans wear them when cheering on soccer, handball, basketball teams and other various sporting events, they actually do look sort of cool). It's a very physical sport requiring lots of endurance. There's plenty of swimming, even some grabbing, dunking and occasional hitting along the way, pinpoint accurate shooting and lots of passing, all while treading water and swimming. Then of course the swimming sprints....racing with the ball from end to end, then more treading water and swimming. A sport definitely not for those who tire easy, but it will get you in shape pretty quick. And that's just a typical normal game, not this below more hardcore version.

For those of you not in the know, the guy behind Red Bull interestingly has Croatian ancestry. Dietrich Mateschitz, (who's surname was Austrianized from Matešić way back), has roots from near the coastal town of Zadar where his parents were primary school teachers, and where the images below were taken. If you are a fan of the sport of water polo, then you might also want to check out my Croatian Water Polo Documentary post. Anyway, I'll let the article do all the asking and explaining.......


*While doing this post, I also just by chance came across some interesting, and important news. Not only can you buy the usual hats and Red Bull related clothing items, but also...(this is the important part)...now you can also get...Red Bull sunglasses! (sunčane naočale). Fantastic.










What the hell is… Red Bull Sidrun anyway?...



It’s water polo, but not as we know it. One pro, six amateurs and just one goal.





All the basic ingredients are there – tight trunks, silly headgear and a collective determination to put the ball in a little floating goal – but that's where normal water polo stops, and Red Bull Sidrun goes off at a tangent.








Source: www.redbull.com


So, Red Bull Sidrun… what's the big idea? 

Croatia is famous for many things; its stunning coastline, friendly people, great weather, beautiful towns and, of course, for punching well above its weight in the world of sport. Tennis and football are the obvious ones, but they've excelled all over the place, including in the world of water polo, where their men's team brought home gold from London 2012. When you've reached the top of your game, it's only natural to seek new challenges, which might be why this new form of water polo took shape along Croatia's coast last summer.









New form? I don't even know how normal water polo works. Will there be seahorses? 

No, horses are just for the land-based version. Normal water polo isn't that complicated; two teams of seven (six outfield players and one goalkeeper) try to get the ball into the opposition's net over the course of four eight-minute quarters. Red Bull Sidrun is to water polo what futsal is to football, or what T20 is to cricket. The teams are smaller, the games are shorter and the action is more intense. Instead of 14 players, there are just seven and the games only last 10 minutes, unless one team reaches 11 goals first. Have a look at the video above, that should give you a good idea of what it's all about.









Wait, what, seven players? How can you have teams of 3.5? Who gets the top half and who gets the bottom? 

Aha! That's where the real twist is here. Instead of two teams, each with their own goal to defend, Red Bull Sidrun sees teams of three amateur players attacking a single goal, guarded by an independent goalkeeper. The "keeper" is also the only professional player involved in the match. At this year's finals, one of the professionals is none other than Josip Pavić, Croatia's gold-medal-winning goalkeeper and FINA's "2012 Water Polo Player of the Year."









So, where is all this happening? Is it just a Croatia thing?

It's certainly a Croatia-based thing. The event really showcases the country's beautiful coastline. Qualifiers take place in the almost-painfully-picturesque cities of Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Šibenik and Zadar, with the finals in Zadar on August 30. However, the success of last year's competition means there's a much more international flavor this time around. Alongside the locals, there are also teams from Montenegro, Italy, Hungary and Greece.










Can I play, then?

Fancy your chances of putting a few past the world's best goalkeeper, do you? Well, unfortunately you're a little bit late to register this year. The event is already in progress and building up to the finals. Keep an eye on www.redbull.hr/sidrun though. You never know what opportunities 2015 may bring (and at the very least, you'll see all the best photos from this year's competition).

DO SAY: “You there! Help squeeze me into my combat Speedos.”

DON'T SAY: “No splashing! I've just had my hair done!” Want to experience the best of RedBull.com on the move? Get the app at RedBull.com/app.



Related: www.facebook.com/redbull-sidrun

www.redbull.com/hr/hr/bike/events/pannonian-challenge-xv

www.redbull.com/hr/hr dietrich-mateschitz-next-time-you-drink-redbull

photosvideo-of-day-red-bull-air-race

red-bull-air-race-arrives-to-rovinj

croatian-national-waterpolo-team-5-part-documentary





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